P.E.I. bar and restaurant owners cheer changes to provincial liquor policies

Published November 7, 2017

Province earns B-minus in latest “Raise the Bar” report card

The PEI government and Liquor Control Corporation earn solid marks on a new Raise the Bar report card on provincial liquor policies, issued today by industry group Restaurants Canada.

The report card awards PEI a B-minus grade and praises the province for following through on commitments to update several liquor policies that affect bar and restaurant owners on the Island. For example: shorter wait times for liquor licenses, cuts to license fees, and online liquor license applications and payment.

“Both the government and the Liquor Corporation wisely recognize the value of the bar and restaurant industry when it comes to the island’s economy, and they are walking the talk when it comes to supporting our industry,” says Luc Erjavec, Restaurants Canada’s vice president, Atlantic Canada. “There are still some issues to resolve, but we’re confident about what we can accomplish when everyone is on the same page. We all want to provide local customers, tourists and visitors with the best in Island hospitality.”

One of the big issues on the table is access to a wider variety of beer, wine and spirits – something Restaurants Canada expects will be addressed in the promised overhaul of the Liquor Control Act.

“Consumers are looking for new items on the drink menu, but under the current rules we can’t get certain products in PEI,” says Erjavec. “That needs to change, and we’re confident that with all the players around the table we can figure out a solution.”

Raise the Bar rates each province on the bar- and restaurant-friendliness of their liquor policies, primarily in terms of price, selection, licensing and regulation. Alberta earned the top mark, a “B”, as the only province to offer true wholesale pricing on beer, wine and spirits. Newfoundland and Labrador is at the bottom of the class with D-minus due to high prices, limited selection and excess red tape.

The full rankings are:

Province Grade
Alberta B
Quebec B-
Nova Scotia B-
P.E.I. B-
British Columbia C
Manitoba C
Saskatchewan C-
Ontario D+
New Brunswick D
Newfoundland D-

Canada’s bars and licensed restaurants represent 48,000 businesses, directly employ 560,000 Canadians, and generate $8.2 billion a year in economic activity, 97% of which goes back to the community through wages, benefits, business purchases and charitable donations.

The complete Raise the Bar report card is available at restaurantscanada.org/raise-the-bar-2017.

Restaurants Canada Digital

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